Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Senate candidate Liz Cheney, speak Friday night during the Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Senate candidate Liz Cheney, speak Friday night during the Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs.

Cheneys highlight Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs

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The Freedom Conference event featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney was sold out.

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the National Security Agency while speaking Friday as part of the fifth annual Freedom Conference, put on by The Steamboat Institute.

Cheney spoke alongside his daughter, Liz Cheney, who is running for U.S. Senate in Wyoming.

The Cheneys spoke for more than an hour, touching on a variety of subjects — including Dick Cheney's recent heart transplant, the upcoming election, the Middle East and President Barack Obama — but the primary topic was the ever-present threat of attacks from overseas.

As George W. Bush’s second-in-command after the 9/11 attacks, Cheney helped design the controversial NSA and put his support behind it again Friday, emphasizing that the U.S. still is under threat of a terrorist attack.

“The biggest threat facing us are terrorists armed with something more dangerous than plane tickets and box cutters,” Cheney told the sold-out crowd at the top of Thunderhead at Steamboat Ski Area.

Cheney detailed his time in office and talked about how national security was a top priority, especially after 9/11. He said the best thing U.S. leadership did at that time was consider the attacks an act of war. The NSA has been pivotal, Cheney said, in preventing further attacks. He also defended his view on waterboarding.

Cheney also defended embattled Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, and talked about former NSA directors John McConnell, Kenneth Minihan and Michael Hayden.

Cheney especially highlighted Alexander, who he said is one of the best he ever has worked with.

“Getting rid of the NSA is the last possible thing we should do,” Cheney said. “We need to protect this nation. I’d let Alexander cover my back anytime.”

The Cheneys also were critical of the Obama administration's stance on national security, each calling Obama out of touch with the situations on foreign soil.

“The world is worse when America is weak or walks away,” Liz Cheney said. “That’s a lesson learned today when you turn on the television."

Although both agreed the NSA is a well-thought-out program that is in the country’s best interest, each reiterated that a change at the top is best for the safety of the country going forward.

“The NSA is a well-run program,” Dick Cheney said. “It’s an important program. The president doesn’t concur with a lot of views on national security. But you wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The president is not up to the job and doesn’t have the same core values we do. We shouldn’t limit our defense or defense tools. We just need to beat him in the next election."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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Comments

John St Pierre 7 months, 4 weeks ago

So nice to see Mr Cheney relaxed and smiling while overseas we still have thousands of young men and women still cleaning up his military adventures based on one of the greatest deceptions ever perpetrated on this country. Good to hear about his concerns for terrorism, of course maybe things would not be as bad today if he had focused on where they really were instead of chasing the donkey in Iraq. Yes Mr Cheney you have it pretty good these days.... where only those who are well off ( those who survived your decimation of the American economy) can afford to PAY to hear you preach your gospel of Pax Americana. Odd how you never speak for free to general audience's... of course that would create a situation where someone could ask you to explain yourself and the death count to date of some 5,000 of this countries bravest.

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mark hartless 7 months, 4 weeks ago

And where are the terrorists, "really", John? Afghanistan? We have lost that too... on Obama's watch BTW. Or perhaps they are in Benghazi, Libya... that ring a bell, John? Maybe they are right next door to YOU, John. Perhaps that's why the NSA under Obama is reading YOUR e-mail, John... Maybe YOU are the terrorist, John...

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Kerrie Cooper 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I could not have said it better John St. Pierre. It's embarrassing & insulting there are people whom actually paid the man who should be brought up on genocide & high treason charges to be heard. He should be speaking from behind bars. END OF STORY.

It's thanks to the brain washed citizens of even Steamboat Springs, how these completely corrupt individuals make it to power.

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mark hartless 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Out of the mouths of babes... It is indeed "thanks to the brain-washed citizens of even Steamboat Springs how these completely corrupt individuals make it to power." Kerrie, I could not agree with you more. Although I sense we might have a slightly differing view of who "these completely corrupt individuals" are. My guess is that you naively think they (the "completely corrupt individuals") all have only a big "R" somewhere on their resume.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey all you proponents of free speech. Maybe Cheney was here because he's affordable. Dick Cheney, former vice president – $75,000

Cheney earns around $75,000 per event, reports Politico

Then there is Bill Clinton - surely the role model for the likes of Anthony Weiner, Elliot Spitzer, Bob Filner and many other randy men. Full disclosure - I did vote twice for Mr. Clinton for President Just how much money has Bill Clinton has made off speaking fees since 2001? An astonishing $106 million… Bill Clinton has earned a whopping $500,000 speaking advance to deliver a 45 minute speech at the 90th birthday bash for Israeli President Shimon Peres — putting Clinton’s price tag at roughly $11,100 per minute.

Be grateful you have the opportunity to voice your opinion.

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John St Pierre 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Freedom of speech is not the issue here and please do not try to cloud the issue...Bill Clinton has nothing to do with Cheney's conning Bush into chasing the donkey in Iraq. The issue of how much Clinton/Cheney make off people willing to pay is also not in question afterall its the American way to gain from others folly if they want to pay. The question here is the deception that was perpetrated by Cheney on our country and the resulting deaths and collapse of our economy paying for it.

The enemy was in Afghanistan not Iraq.... and the Pax America plan " to clean them all out at once" was Cheney's plan from day one and unfortunately he was able to con and lie about the facts to Bush who took it hook, line an sinker..... Why is it that Bush and Cheney always get a free pass... 4100+ dead servicemen and women are a very very real fact of their presidency's.

No one is questioning the Freedom of Speech, no one is questioning the right to spend ones money as one see's fit... the question is why does Cheney not come out into the open and allow himself to be held accountable. Bush has had the sense ot keep a low profile unlike his assisant.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 7 months, 4 weeks ago

"Bush and Cheney always get a free pass". I think even you upon further review would agree that your statement is quite misleading. The Obama administration has taken every opportunity possible to blame the Bush administration. The main stream media joined the chorus as well. Just do a yahoo search of "Bush and Cheney lies" to see if "Bush and Cheney always get a free pass". You have your opinions and are blessed to live in a country where you can publically voice them. I just hope that some day you will look back at the current administrations foibles and be willing to criticize them as well.

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jerry carlton 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I can not stand professional politicians of any party. Cheney was a war profiteer, Clinton an immoral sex addict as are many men of power and wealth, Biden is the village idiot, and Obama {who i voted for} is a total incompetent. Obama has had 5 years to get our troops out of where they have never been sent. Our troops are still being killed in Afganistan and once in a while in Iraq. Today we are positioning carriers off Syria. Lets hope we only lob Cruise missiles into Syria and do not risk manned aircraft.

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mark hartless 7 months, 4 weeks ago

With all due respect, Jerry, if you think Obama is "incompetent" then you are just being foolish. The man is accomplishing EXACTLY what he set out to do.

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Kerrie Cooper 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Let's not forget or totally omit, Cheney's direct role in horrendous environmental destruction worldwide with Haliburton and fracking or even the BP oil spill. This man is truly the anti-Christ and I am not even religious.

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mark hartless 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes, and while this "anti-christ" was VP my freakin gas was $2/ gallon.

Now that your lord and savior Obama christ is president it's $4.

Hell, I'd rather have Cheney making dirty monet from "big oil" and be paying $64 to fill up my truck than have Jesus Obama and be paying $117 to fill my damned truck.

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john bailey 7 months, 3 weeks ago

hey , hey , hey , WC knocked off 5 cents the other day.......... yee haw...... and no discount card required.~;0)

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mark hartless 7 months, 3 weeks ago

And since YOU don't own or benefit from any oil-burning devices then we all know YOU didn't have any role in the "worldwide environmental pollution"...

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rhys jones 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I work very near where they are holding their conference, and while my employers generally try to keep me out of sight, I have seen a few of the attendees, but they didn't see me -- they won't even make eye contact, as I am a plebian, and they, the ruling class.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I was at the base for The Giving Tree Band concert Friday night. They are awesome by the way and hopefully will come back. Beautiful double rainbow that night as well.The lightning, thunder and rain kept the crowd to a few hundred people. Any way the people attending the conference seemed like nice enough people. Patiently waiting for the gondola to start after the storm passed. I didn't see any horns coming out of heads, I didn't see any fire or smoke being breathed. I didn't hear any moans and groans as the first couple groups boarded the shuttle for the 25 minute or so ride up to Thunderhead. Wouldn't it be nice if the liberals in town would host a conference. I know that The mountain would love to charge for another conference. It could certainly use the revenue. I have often wondered why there is no similar conference sponsored by the liberals in town.

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mark hartless 7 months, 4 weeks ago

You are not implying, Rhys, that leftists/liberals are the "down-to-earth" freindly, people-loving bunch while the right wing holds a patent on snobbery, are you?

If so I would refer you to a quaint little place called "hollywood" where I'm sure you can be held in just as much contempt by ultra left-wingers as you were the other night... and they can damned sure "afford it"... whatever, and wherever "it" is.

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mark hartless 7 months, 3 weeks ago

There is a growing "deafening silence" from the hypocrites on the left. I have yet to see the first bumper sticker reading: "Attack Syria? NO! " .

I have yet to see anyone resembling Steve L. protesting on Lincoln Av as we are aparently just days from launching another military strike in the middle east against another nation where we have no national interest.

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mark hartless 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello...dink dink dink dink... is this thing on??

Where are the protesters calling the president a war criminal?

NO blood for oil... or in this case sand.

Mind our own business.

War is not the answer.

Obama lied, people died...

Hello... dink dink dink... ...hello?

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rhys jones 7 months, 3 weeks ago

... is this thing ringing AGAIN?? Hello...

Dave's not here, man.

What? Another war? Like the brass said in Vietnam -- This is the only war we've got -- don't knock it.

Ah, for the good ol' days...

Wars are the natural progression of aggressive societies dominating weaker ones, and they will continue, whatever puppet occupies the Oval Office, until every human on Earth is tattooed with their own account number in a Federal Reserve bank. (The Mark of the Beast? Bad days comin'? Fire and brimstone, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!) This one is hardly a surprise, although I thought Iran was higher on our lengthy list.

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mark hartless 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Iran actually matters, so I wouldn't expect Obama to do anything there...

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